Art’s grandeur can’t emerge sans love

   By Vijay Darda | 15-04-2024

Boundless possibilities of art: Leonardo da Vinci drew sketches of planes 400 years before the first flight

Every time I step into my office, my eyes are immediately drawn to a captivating artwork created by the renowned painter Syed Haider Raza. Written on it is a priceless phrase… ‘Bindu’ – infinite possibilities of absolute zero. This painting not only reminds me of Raza Sahab, but also stirs up the artist within me. Playing with colors on canvas and expressing through poetry brings me peace.

You might be wondering why I suddenly started talking about paintings and poetry? Well, actually, today is World Art Day, and one cannot even contemplate the completeness of life without art. Art exists in various forms within every individual. Some are able to express it and some, not! Whether it’s creating ‘Mandana’ art from cow dung in a village or designing ‘Rangoli’ patterns during Diwali, these are all expressions of art. When I personally engage in painting or writing a poem on a blank canvas, my creativity seems to flow effortlessly. I have had the privilege of knowing many talented artists closely.

Reading the compositions of poet Suresh Bhatt leaves one amazed every time. The realm of art transcends all boundaries, as evidenced by Maqbool Fida Hussain’s deep reverence for Pandurang reflected in his vibrant paintings. Art offers boundless opportunities to unveil the unseen. Just as a number’s value grows exponentially once its base is established on the left of zero, the possibilities in art are limitless. This is exemplified by Raza Saheb’s contemplation on the ‘Bindu’ representing infinite possibilities of absolute zero. Raja Ravi Varma painted images of Gods and Goddesses based on imagination, but today those paintings have become universal.

During the Covid pandemic, I came to a profound realization about the boundless potential of art. Like many others, I too found myself confined to the walls of my home due to the horrors of the pandemic. Understanding the detrimental effects of loneliness, I sought solace in the realms of painting and poetry throughout this challenging period. Even on ordinary days, amidst the hustle and bustle of life, I manage to maintain a connection with the world of art.

It was three months prior to the onset of Covid when I organized a gathering of renowned artists from across the country, to immerse ourselves in the serene and picturesque sanctuary of Tadoba. We all expressed every hue of nature there through our strokes. I’m sharing these memories with you to emphasize how important art is in life! And yes, no matter what form art takes, its direct connection is with love. Without the emotions of love, the splendor of colors cannot be expressed. For an artist, the feelings of purity, simplicity, farsightedness, honesty, and forgiveness are essential elements. Just as we prepare ourselves before entering a place of worship, the same level of reverence is necessary in the expression of art. Art is a form of worship, a form of meditation. When an artist shows his/hers painting to you, notice the expression in the artist’s eyes, you will see the feeling of pure devotion just akin to worshipping.

It can confidently be stated that the realm of art is vast, perhaps as expansive as the entire universe! Despite all the remarkable advancements in science, we still haven’t been able to comprehend our creation even to the extent of a grain of sand. This holds true in the realm of art as well. Take painting, for instance. The world is filled with countless artists, yet even when depicting the same subject, each artist’s work is distinct and unique. Every individual possesses his/hers own distinct viewpoint and perspective. Furthermore, there are instances where an artist’s depiction of a scene has materialized in reality several centuries later.

Art Day is commemorated in honour of Leonardo da Vinci’s birthday, as he was an exceptional artist. He is widely recognized for his masterpiece, the ‘Mona Lisa’, which continues to captivate viewers with its enigmatic smile that remains unmatched to this day. I had the privilege of closely observing this ancient painting, which is over 500 years old, at the Louvre Museum in Paris. The artwork is carefully preserved behind a unique type of glass that neither reflects light nor shatters.

As I gazed upon the Mona Lisa, it also brought to mind Leonardo da Vinci’s other remarkable creations. It is not widely known that Leonardo da Vinci had sketched a flying machine nearly 400 years before the Wright brothers, Wilbur and Orville, successfully piloted the first experimental airplane in 1903. At that time, people couldn’t fathom the possibility of a machine flying in the air. But through the medium of art, the dream etched on canvas became a reality. Another noteworthy example is Leonardo da Vinci’s painting from 1511, illustrating the position of a child in the mother’s womb. It was not until approximately 440 years later that science unveiled the truth about fetal development, leaving many astonished by Vinci’s accurate depiction done centuries ago. Despite his bridge design for the Ottoman Empire being deemed unfeasible in 1500, modern science is now constructing similar bridges. This is the immanency of art.

In the modern era, my concern is that we’re not encouraging children towards art as much as we should. While computers have their benefits, they can’t replace the natural essence of art. The rise of Artificial Intelligence has raised questions about whether upcoming generations will prioritise art in their lives. This concern is quite profound. It is crucial to explore ways to ensure that our children remain connected to art. The seeds of art must be sown during childhood. I can only hope you are actively addressing this issue.

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